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What is Love and Sex?  Ponderings about the Religious Reich and their Homophobia

What is Love and Sex? Ponderings about the Religious Reich and their Homophobia

It seems the Religious Reich talks about sex a lot, especially lately concerning women’s health, childbirth, raising children, and homosexuality.  The Reich is obsessed with sex and women.  They do not appear to recognize the difference between good human contact and bad.  For them, an abusive marriage between a man and a woman is better than a homosexual couple, who truly love each other, marrying, which is absurd.

In addition, children do not care if their parents are gay or straight.  All they care about is how they are cared for and the love they receive, with hugs and kisses that express that love in an appropriate manner.

This led me into pondering sexuality, as well as a variety of relationships, this morning as I read the various articles about the Reich and their complaints about women, believing that parenthood only involves giving birth.  They seem to believe that one is not a parent unless they give birth to a child, which lesbians cannot do unless they use artificial insemination or have sex with their female partner and a man outside their relationship.  It would seem the Religious Reich does not consider parents of adopted children as true parents or truly believe blood is thicker then water, which is not always true.  It also seems that the Religious Reich have loss the sense of good and bad touch, especially given that they believe an abusive relationship between a man and woman is better than a homosexual relationship or abusive parents over loving parents.

Wading into the battle Hilary Rosen/Ann Romney “motherhood” battle, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, led by notorious gay rights hater Bill Donohue, decided to give conservatives an assist, tweeting “Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.”

The Religious Reich also seems to believe there is a homosexual agenda and lately, the Reich coined a new term for same sex marriage, Sodomy Based Marriage, stating gay adoption is not natural, even creating a pledge against same sex marriages, because in their view homosexuality is not natural either.

This led me to ponder what sex really is.  Sex is the ultimate expression of love, intimacy, and trust between two adults who love each other deeply.  This is not to say teenagers are not sexually healthy, but I think many teens are at a stage where they are exploring their sexuality and do not know what romantic love is.  They are often infatuated with another teen and often explore what love and sex is, until they figure out what it actually means.  Some of us never actually figure out what love, infatuation, and sex actually are, even until death.

Many people spend a lifetime confusing infatuation, love, and lust, as well as what is natural human behaviour.  Some, probably due to societal and religious pressures, spend a lifetime confused about sexuality even, struggling to conform to stereotypes of men and women, while they suppress and deny who they are, even to themselves.  The confusion is not whether they are gay or straight, but why they struggle to conform to unrealistic dogmas about sexuality and believing they are bad sinful people, possibly possessed, because they cannot conform.  Sadly, religion appears to stunt sexuality and sexual development, sometimes severely in some people, because it controls not only women, but also the kind of sex people have in their own bedrooms.  The Religious Reich seems to believe everyone was born heterosexual, because God made man and woman, not realizing that we are almost all born bisexual.  Society and genetics play a huge role in deciding people’s sexuality as we grow into adulthood.

However, given that I consider myself 90% asexual, I do have sexual desires once in a very blue moon, but it is rare.  In fact, my first husband, long before I left religion, sometimes called me frigid, because of my extremely low sex drive.  I felt so much guilt over the act of sex and not desiring sex, that it became a struggle to pretend I wanted it, even when I did not, just to prevent my husband’s abuse.  Most people do not understand what a lack of desire for sex is, but I think blogger Katherine Chen described asexuality fairly well, except for a few minor points.

Even after I left religion, apart from the cycle of guilt concerning my lack of desire, this did not actually change and I find that I disagree with some of Darrel Ray’s findings concerning sex after religion getting better.  The only thing that changed was the guilt over a lack of desire and guilt over, almost literal, rare blue moon desire, but the Religious Reich does not become worked up about asexuality.  It fits too well in their agenda, but they do become bent about homosexuality and sexuality active women.

The idea that one’s normal sex drive changes or improves in most cases, after leaving religion, seems a bit off to me, but then again, part of what people struggle with after leaving religion are sexual issues.  This does not mean that I will not admit that some of my early childhood experiences contributed to my sexuality, in which religion was part of it, but so was incest.  My childhood was not one’s average, healthy, childhood, but one thing I do agree with, concerning Ray’s study is that the guilt concerning sex does diminish after one leaves religion.  Remember, I do possess a smidgen of a sex drive, but I also find the brain the sexiest part of the body.  Intellectualism can be a real turn on, but once the brain goes south, it becomes a turn off, in my opinion.

However, after pondering all of that and exploring my own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours about sex, I decided that to answer the question of “What is sex”, we must define love and relationships, given that my conclusion was that “sex is the ultimate expression of love between two adults”, because the original issue dealt with more than just sex.  It also dealt with parenthood and women, as well as what is natural and not natural.

I remember when I was a child, my mother pointed out that there are many definitions of love, starting with the Greeks.  Strictly on the human level alone, there is love of family (Storge), romantic love (Eros), and friendship love (Philia), of which she considered the love between mother and child the ultimate love because the mother gives and sustains the child’s life.  I sometimes question that last, given that some mothers may give birth, but they do not necessarily sustain the offspring’s life.  Sometimes the offspring is on their own, fighting for their own survival.

Barbra Streisand is one of my favourite actresses, writers, directors, and producers because she deals with many issues dealing with the human condition, despite the fact she is Jewish.  In The Mirror Has Two Faces, she dealt with human relationships.  The video has a few seconds delay before starting and at the 2:36 mark, it starts talking about the human condition more than it does at the beginning and it has a 20 second delay in the middle also, but shows many different relationships.

Despite survival issues, people often express love between individual family members and friends with a hug and sometimes a kiss. Parents often kiss their children on the cheek and give them a hug as sign of affection and love. Two friends, mostly women, often greet each other with a hug and sometimes a peck on the cheek to express friendship love. Males, who are friends, usually express affection with a pat on the back or a fist bump. Thus, the human touch, in all types of relationships, is important.

However, if one does not love themselves, all these other relationships become problematic, especially if communication is poor or abusive.  It all starts with loving oneself and I think the Religious Reich has a big problem with self-love.  They even teach that one must decrease so that He, God, can increase, causing individuals not to love themselves (John 3:30).  The idea of self-love is almost as abhorrent to the Religious Reich as romantic love that does not conform to their rules and standards, so I would say part of their problem with sex and romantic love starts with the lack of loving oneself.  Much of their dogma diminishes the sense of self-worth and self-love, so how can they ever begin to appreciate the love between two people?  They internalize all the abusive dogmatic B.S. that they view themselves as inferior and because of that, the world reflects this, then in turn, the world becomes a very scary place.  Then the fear factor comes into play, keeping them locked into this way of thinking.  The dogmas are a vicious circle of hate for themselves and others, as well as fear of the outside world and people who are different from them.  God forbid they end up possessing homosexual tendencies.

The idea of agape love, in Christian circles has become cold and meaningless, in that it seems Fundamngelicals reserve such love only for those in their circle, as well as an abusive parental or “marital” relationship with their deity.  The meaning of agape love involves unconditional love for others, but Fundamngelicals add conditions to that love, such as Christian qualifications, homophobia, and misogyny.  They discriminate against others who are not male, not straight, and who they consider not Christian, which is conditional love.

There is also the concept of Platonic and courtship love, in which a couple loves each other without a sexual relationship.  However, I think, sometimes this type of love can lead into a very passionate, caring, and healthy romantic relationship.  Such romantic relationships that start out in this manner appear to be the most well adjusted sexual relationships, but then again, there are exceptions and sometimes deceptions in public.  Thus, the idea that they are the most well adjusted intimate relationships might be a misconception, but it appears many people think that relationships that start as friendship and then lead into romantic love are the better than those that start with lust.

Regardless, the expression of love and affection in almost any relationship is often physical, but limited in healthy relationships, with sex reserved for romantic love, because it is the ultimate expression of trust, love, and even feelings of security. I add security, because after all one needs to feel secure with a person to trust them with their whole body. Even children need feelings of security for a parent to care for them, despite the love between parent and child, being different from romantic love. A level of trust and security is needed for almost any relationship, with the ultimate relationship being romantic.

Now that we defined love, we should define sex. Sex, in a healthy romantic relationship, is the extreme form of affection, with intimate kissing, petting, touching, and sometimes sexual intercourse. It truly is the ultimate expression of affection and love. Healthy sexual encounters would mean sexual relationships between two consenting adults, regardless of gender, who truly care about each other and about the other person’s well-being. They do not demand sex or take sex. Healthy relationships would have high level of respect for everyone involved.

One might ask, “What about two teenagers in a sexual relationship or experimenting with sexuality?” I find this a very gray area to explore intellectually, in part because the human brain and body is still developing. I also feel the subject of teen sex is problematic on so many levels, that it is just easier to keep the focus on two consenting adults, past the age of majority.

The second question one may ask is, “What about casual sex?” That too is possibly a form of extreme affection, but I often find that people who participate in casual sex are either experimenting or lack/possess something that some of us have or do not have, but if it is the last, religion might play a role in suppressing this or something that the human sciences need to clarify.

One possibility is that what some people view as casual sex, might be polyamory, the love for more than one person, but I am not going to get into that, preferring to keep it simple and between two people, because more than two makes it things complicated in my mind, especially when focusing on two people relationships.  It just adds more factors to the mess.

The bottom line is that one can define love on many different levels, which the Greeks did and did well.  However, modern society conditions people to view romantic love as a relationship between a man and a woman and the Religious Reich drove this definition into the ground, planted it, and allowed it to take root, at least in their circles, if not the whole of society.

Why must we define romantic love and marriage as between a man and a woman?  Because God said so?  That does not quite hold up to reality nor is it a reason.  To say “God said so” is to avoid giving a rational and logical explanation or avoid saying, “I don’t know.”  There seems to be more reasons to redefine love and marriage than there are not to redefine love and marriage.

Returning to the video by Fundamngelicals, they not only possess strong emotions, such as bigotry, hatred, and misogyny, but they project these emotions onto their god concept and do not claim these emotions.  This human created god concept supposedly created laws, found in the Bible, concerning moral conduct.  Fundamngelicals base their god concept on what they loathe, despise, and desire to control on a book written and inspired by humans, not a god.  They cherry-pick the Bible, as do Episcopalians, to support their bigotry, discrimination, and misogyny, as they blame their human creation they call a god, so they do not have to take responsibility for their strong emotions.

Episcopalians on the other hand, not only have a god concept that possesses human emotions, but they also claim and take responsibility for their very human emotions or at least the majority do.  Episcopalians talk about love a lot.  Their god concept is a loving god, who accepts women as equals to men, even in the priesthood.  Their god concept loves everyone, including LGBTs and is not afraid to marry those who truly love each other, regardless of gender.  Bishop Spong even believes that Paul was gay, but that is not the basis of same sex marriage in the Episcopal Church.  They do cherry-pick the Bible to support their views on homosexuality, same sex marriage, ordaining openly gay ministers, and equality for both women and LGBTs though.

The idea of defining human emotions, such as love, and telling people who they can and cannot sexually relate to is a form of Sharia.  Islam does it and Fundamngelical Christians do it too, as they project their emotions, ethics, rules, and controlling demands on a human created deity.  God did not create humans, but rather humans created God as a means to blame what they do not wish to claim and/or take responsibility for, such as emotions and controlling rules, that demand an unhealthy mentality towards emotions and actions, such as love and sex.  It is not homosexuality that is unnatural, but the Religious Reich’s projections of emotions and human creations of morality onto their human concept of a deity.  They outsource strong emotions and desires onto their god concept, as well as their demands that everyone conforms to their view of morality and submit to their human creation of a deity that is unnatural.

The very human emotion called love does not chose who we love.  Love either is or it is not, such as in the case of women giving birth to a child.  After an average gestation period of nine months, taking care of a fetus, that is not yet a person, and then giving birth, most mentally healthy women are naturally in love with their newborn.  They did not choose to love the baby, but rather female mammals are naturally and neurologically programmed to love and care for their offspring as a means of survival.

The study below, albeit an old one, shows the need for human touch and in recent years, some orphanages and foster homes made some improvements, especially concerning abuse and neglect, but there is nothing like family and the love a child receives from a loving family.

However, survival is not solely dependent on reproduction and a mother’s love. Humans need each other to survive and cannot survive alone as reptiles often do. Social contact, even for loners, is important for survival, so we form trusting and loving relationships with others. The human touch is essential to a baby’s development and without it, their emotional development is stunted, but sex takes on another form emotional development and intimacy for adults.

While the rhesus monkeys experiments are old and not human studies, Genie is a real life case in which authorities found her totally neglected and deprived of human contact. At 53 years, she was confined to a nursing facility, withdrawn and totally without speech, suggesting there is a window of time for human contact to assist in an individual’s development, but the need for human contact, including love is extremely important for humans. Human contact is necessary throughout life and not just in childhood, but it is most important in the early stages of life.

The two studies do show the need for touch as one develops into adulthood, but that need does not end once the child becomes an adult. We all still need the human touch even into death, but romantic love provides a touch that is beyond the loving touch of parental and friendship love.

Again, the emotion love takes on various meanings, as well as forms, and is not exclusive to romantic love, but some relationship develop a passionate love beyond the family and friends form of love. Love does not base the emotion and attraction on a set of rules external to the human being, as the Religious Reich does, and in reality, no one chooses who they fall in love with, although humans do develop a natural attraction to specific features in others.

Neurological chemicals in the brain trigger love, thus a woman can easily fall in love with a baby, whether it is hers biologically or not. Two people can become infatuated, lustful, or fall in love with another person due to a specific set of neuro-chemicals in the brain. Sometimes love develops over time instead of going through stages of infatuation and lust, because a bond of trust and respect developed, which in itself involves neurology and this form of love may be longer lasting than one that goes from infatuation to lust to love. Eventually, the couple may consider compatibility issues, not based on sex, with each other, whether they are straight or gay. A bond based on trust is definitely longer lasting than one forced via a set of unreal and unnatural rules of conduct created by humans, who outsource their rules onto a human concept of a deity.

Society establishes proper conduct between people who love each other, but at the same time, there is also an internal compass, for want of a better word, that defines conduct also. Most mentally healthy humans feel revulsion by the incestuous story of Lot and his daughters, unless extreme religious indoctrination causes them to become callous to the story. Most people feel repulsed by the stories of rape in the Bible, unless religious extremism causes them to become callous. The same goes for misogyny and sexual slavery, most often found in Abrahamic religious texts. Rape, incest, and other forms of nonconsensual acts of sex cause most individuals to want to defend themselves or others because it is an act of violence and does not contribute to survival, even though it may cause the conception of a child. Thus, there is a level or standard that is sexually taboo within society, without religion or a god, but rather by humans for generations, because it is not mutual and/or between two mature consenting adults. Humans possess a natural instinct to protect those they care about and love.

In the movie and book, titled The Women of Brewster Place, an attractive lesbian women ends up raped by a hateful man and despite taking out her anger for the rape on the wrong person, the one person she trusted most was the woman she loved. Until that one person she trusted appeared, she was on the level of an injured wild animal trying to protect herself, which is only natural. At this point, it had less to do with sex and more to do with trust, respect, and in this case, emotional comfort, and security, which is something we all want and need. I think the movie ended up showing that in the end, and what everyone sees as security or thinks is security is not always security. That is why the residences of Brewster Place tore down the wall after the couple left together in the ambulance, because it was false security and human relationships are more important.

Thus, if sex is the ultimate expression of affection, love, trust, and intimacy between two mutually consenting adults, then it would seem marriage is also the ultimate symbol of that love. Sex can provide a means for two people who deeply love each to not only express that love, but also feel a deeper spiritual and emotional connection to each other. If love is a natural emotion that occurs naturally and we do not choose whom we fall in love with, then all the Religious Reich is doing, is attempting to control the masses by unnaturally defining love. They use that definition to make rules, which they project onto a deity they themselves created only because they need something in order not to claim responsibility for their own hate and bigotry. Sex is just one more way to control the masses through religion and override the natural tendencies of others.

However, in the end, when people feel good about themselves, get to know others, and relate to them on a very human level, trust develops and so does a form of love, be it friendship, family, or romantic love. In a case of romantic love, that does not define itself exclusively on gender, but rather communication and mutual respect, just as friendship does on a different level. Such a relationship can be powerful and, just as a hug bonds two friends, sex could bond two lovers.

The thing is what business is it of others if two people love each other, whether it is parental love, friendship love, or romantic love? If the human touch is important from birth until death, then what does it matter if a child’s parents are hetero or homo? Similarly, if the human touch is so important that we need it even when we die, than why does it matter if one’s lover is the same gender or a different gender? If they are not hurting anyone, why does it matter as to how they express their love to each other, even if it the ultimate expression of love? Who are we to decide from whom an adult receives their most intimate contact or human contact period? No one decides from whom an adult receives human contact, such as friendship, not even the Religious Reich. Two women can hug and show friendship love to each other, but if two men do it, the Religious Reich gets bent out of shape and starts screaming about homosexuality. If two women kiss intimately, the Religious Reich gets bent, but if two or more grown female cats have a grooming orgy, they think nothing about it.

“I'm in the middle of one of my lesbian orgy dreams and he's staring at me like I'm suppose to include him. I can't even fantasize in private.”  ~ Clare to her sister Rose about her husband Alex in The Mirror Has Two Faces

I find it a shame that the Religious Reich demands control over who people love and at one time, they attempted to control who people love via skin color.  Now they attempt to control people based on whether or not they have a uterus or a penis.  It really is an obsession with sex and gender, as well as control of the masses, which in itself is not natural, despite what they say is natural sexuality.

How can something be natural if the Religious Reich attempts to control love by unnatural human definitions designed to control people.  About the only difference between the Loving v Virginia case of the 60s and now, is the Religious Reich’s replacement of skin colour with gender.

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix. ~ From the Loving v Virginia case

The rhetoric is the same, but the words are slightly different.

Before her death in 2008, Mildred Loving made this statement:

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the "wrong kind of person" for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people's religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people's civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about.

If not for the Lovings, my two handsome sons, whom I love dearly, despite their flaws, would not be here today and at one time, because they are half-black, authorities would have taken them from me and placed them with a Black family.  It does not matter that their father’s and my marriage did not last, but because people do love, sometimes very deeply and strongly, some wonderful life events can happen because they shared their life with each other.  In the case of a gay couple, adoption can bring a wonderful life event for the couple and the child.

Once again, it is time society redefines romantic love, ignoring the Religious Reich, and even fights back in a court of law, which might just be the Supreme Court again.  Who knows if Gay Rights will end up in the Supreme Court, as the Loving Case did, but if it does, maybe then people can have natural relations, in which religion does not play a major part in who they romantically love, marry, and raise children with, eventually sharing grandchildren with whomever their children marry.

Since human touch is extremely important all throughout our lives then as long as the couple are good parents, not abusive, it should not matter if the child has one parent or two parents of the same gender.  It also should not matter whom an adult falls in love with, decides to marry, and share their life, as well as their body, with, whether that time is a few years of life or a lifetime.  It is their life, their body, and they should be with a person they love, feeling comfortable and safe with that person for however long that relationship lasts, as well as give birth to or adopt children.  I think the love one has for an individual, be it friendship love, parental love, or romantic love, as well as the kind of touch in expressing that love, be it a friendship or parental hug or romantic affection, is really all that matters and is important.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
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